Fitchburg Community Groups Pitch Project Ideas for Block Grants
FITCHBURG -- Community organizations shared ideas about how federal grant money could serve residents and improve their neighborhoods at a Tuesday forum.
The city is accepting requests for Community Development Block Grant funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“It extremely helps for a broad range of community activities,” said Liz Murphy, director of housing and development. “I wish there were more of it to go around.”
The amount of money the city is expecting hasn’t been determined because Congress hasn’t appropriated it, she said, but Fitchburg is hoping to receive a similar amount as last year, which was about $980,500.
CDBG funds can be used for public facilities, services, economic development, rehabilitation projects and planning, Murphy said.
Federal requirements say that block grant funds must be used for activities, programs, or activities that benefit low- and moderate-income people, prevent or eliminate slums, and meet urgent need.
On Tuesday, about 10 attendees from various groups in the city and around the region spoke about the needs they intend to meet through CDBG funding.
The Montachusett Opportunity Council is interested in funding youth services and the YMCA would like to fund its “Spartacus” after-school program, Murphy said.
A few organizations that haven’t applied for funding in a few years or are new to the process also have plans to submit applications.
She said the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts is seeking CDBG money to help people with legal counseling on housing matters.
Another group that plans to apply is the United Hmong of Massachusetts to assist veterans and elder Hmong in the community, Murphy said.
Last year CDBG funds were appropriated for road infrastructure, programs, services and community organizations.
Phase IV of restoring the Crocker Field grandstand roof, a street homeless intervention program, and after-school transportation for the Boys and Girls Club were also funded through the block grant funds, according to the Community Development office.
People can see guidelines and requirements for projects at www.fitchburgma.gov/150/Community-Development-Block-Grant-Program .
The deadline is Jan. 4. and applications should be delivered to the Community Development Department office at 166 Boulder Drive, Suite 102 or emailed to SChristensen@fichburgma.gov .
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